Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. They belong to Marvel and other entitled entities. I'm not making profit and only published this for personal entertainment.
Chapter Two: In the Hospital
Hot pain, the burn of his healing working overtime, the roar of a helicopter and the sense of movement swam through Logan's consciousness, but he didn't truly wake up until a good time later.
His brother was beside him and they were in a hospital, or medical center of some kind.
That was immediately clear just from the smell. For several moments, Logan didn't open his eyes, just took in the smells and sounds, letting the information form a picture in his head. It was a relatively large room and, beside himself, Bradley and LeBeau were here. Lots of people had come and gone, but Victor was the only current visitor. His brother was sitting by Logan's bed, eating jerky and looking at porn. He had probably been here a few hours.
Letting out a soft moan, Logan turned his head slightly.
"Jimmy?" dropping his magazine, Victor leaned over the bed. Perfect.
With sudden action, Logan sat, grabbing Victor's collar in one hand and popping his claws in the other. They stopped less than half an inch from Victor's eyeballs, poised for a plunge.
"Gotch'a!" Logan smirked, a wild, playful look in his eyes.
For a second, Victor looked startled. Then he scowled and grudgingly shoved Logan back. "Damn it Jimmy!" he growled.
Logan snorted then broke into a cough, the taste of smoke and blood coming to his mouth, "Heh. Admit it," he wheezed, "I had you."
Victor glared at him then broke into a toothy grin, giving Logan a playful shove. "Only because you look so damned pathetic. You're in a fucking hospital Jimmy. When they found you, you were charred right down to the bones." Victor picked up his magazine, shaking the paper, as he looked for his spot. "You still look like hell. Your damn hair hasn't even grown back yet."
True enough Logan could feel the itch and burn of flesh rebuilding, mostly on his back and legs. He coughed again, as his lungs still recovered from being seared by heat. It hurt like hell. Also, he was starving, in a pained way only healing brought on. Nonetheless, he dismissed it all and glanced worriedly over at the curtains he knew separated them from LeBeau.
"What about the kid?" he asked, "Is he- cough-KOFfh- ?"
Victor frowned, "He don't look good, Jim. He wasn't burned bad as you, but that's hardly saying much. The doctors here are 'mazed he aint died yet." He looked over the top of his magazine down at Logan, "Colonel's real pissed."
Guilt settled in Logan's empty stomach. Sure the kid had blow up his bike and tried to kill them all, but he was just a boy and they had been hunting him.
"What about the attendant?"
"Hrm?" Victor's brow wrinkled in confusion.
"The gas attendant, at the station," Logan clarified, "Did he – Cough – make it?"
"Oh," Victor shrugged, "Doubt it. That whole place went up pretty fast. You and Cajun Spice were lucky we had backup on the way."
There was the distant sound of booted footsteps, limping toward the room and they recognized them as Stryker's. The brother's exchanged a "get ready for trouble" look. While they disagreed about a lot of they things that'd happened since Stryker had saved them from a cell in Saudi Arabia, Victor and Logan would always share a common dislike for authority. It'd always been the two of them vs. the world and century-old habits tend to die hard.
"Brace yourself, Runt," Victor said and then smirked slightly, "Like I said, he's pissed."
"Go fuck yourself, Victor," Logan hissed.
Victor chuckled appreciatively then looked up, as the doors burst open and Stryker stalked in, a couple doctors in attendance.
"You're awake," Stryker said, coming over to Logan's bed.
Just as Victor had warned, Logan could smell frustration and anger all over the Colonel, even if Stryker managed to appear as collected and businesslike as ever.
"Awake and at your service, Sir," Logan replied, deciding to play things safe for once.
Victor rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair, which Logan now noticed was a wheel chair. Apparently Victor was still recovering from his broken back.
"Told yeh Jimmy would pull through. I know my brother, Colonel. He's a runty pain in the ass, but he knows how to take a hit."
"Yes. Thank you, Victor. You may go now," Stryker said testily.
Snorting in irritation, Victor pushed away from the bed.
"A wheel chair?" scoffed Logan.
"Shut up Jimmy. I'm only still using it cuz it's fun to ride down the ramps."
Growling, Victor shoved a doctor out of the way and managed to kick the doors open with a bang as he left the ward.
"What the hell were you thinking, James?" demanded Stryker, soon as Victor was gone, "Your orders were to stay put, until back up arrived."
Logan scowled. "I didn't intend a confrontation, Sir," he said, "I only meant to-"
"I don't care for excuses, Soldier!" interrupted Stryker, "Because you disregarded orders, LeBeau is on the edge of death, a civilian was killed and we had to cover up a damn explosion."
Logan dropped his head. "I didn't intend for that to happen, Sir."
"Your intentions don't matter," snapped Stryker and paced, still limping on one leg. "The question now is how will you fix this?"
Logan frowned and gave Stryker a dubious look. "Fix it? There's nothing I can do that will bring back the dead, Sir."
"No, but you may be able to something damn close to it." Turning, Stryker looked down at Logan, his face serious. "You're unique, James," he said. "I'm realizing this more everyday. When I first took you and your brother in, I assumed you shared basically the same mutation. But in the past twelve hours you have recovered from multiple bone fractures, shrapnel and severe burns, while Victor is still healing from a broken spine.
"A broken spine is no-" Logan started, but Stryker interrupted again.
"Regardless, it's clear that while Victor may be stronger and faster, your healing factor is superior. Also, the doctors just informed me that you have 0- blood-type."
"Have what?" Logan asked frowning in confusion.
"You're a universal donor," said one of the doctors, coming over to Logan's bed. Looking at him, Logan was reminded of the self-portraits by Van Gogh. He had a thin pasty face that caused his red hair and bushy red beard to stand out starkly and his very large glasses made the doctor's pale eyes look bizarrely large. "It's an invaluable blood type," the doctor continued, "Both the Colonel and I are very curious as to what, if any, effect your mutation would have if you were to donate blood, or say an organ."
Logan frowned. He and Victor had experienced doctors and their many questions and curiosities before. Experimentation had always been a threat for them and they'd escaped from some bad situations in the past. It had left them with a deep dislike for doctors, scientists and other such ilk.
"You aint cutting me up, Bub," he growled, "So you can forget about turning me into a free-for-all organ bank right now."
"Thanks to you, Remy LeBeau has suffered devastating burns," interrupted Stryker, his stern voice snapping Logan out of the death glare he was directing at Doctor Red-beard. "Burns which he will never be rid of, even if he should be lucky enough to survive, which, according to Doctor Cornelius here, is unlikely." Stryker looked earnestly down at Logan, "He's lost a lot of blood, James. His lungs are damaged beyond repair and he's in a lot of pain. And there's nothing more the hospital can do for him."
Logan was silent for a long moment. He could smell Remy just on the other side of the curtain. He knew what Stryker was saying was true. The kid needed help and needed it soon, or he was going to die.
"You want me to donate blood?" Logan asked, his tone a grudging growl, "You think that could really help?"
"I have a theory that the antibodies and stem cells in your blood may increase the boy's owe immune system and even increase his rate of healing," said Doctor Cornelius, holding up a clip board, "That is, if your blood isn't rejected by his system, but with your blood type, I don't think it will be a problem."
Logan turned his glare back on him. He really didn't like doctors, especially when they acted like they knew everything. "Fine," he growled, "I'll agree to give the blood, but I'm not agreeing to any kind of experiment. I just want to save the boy, so don't you go getting any ideas, Doc."
Stryker glared, "James, it doesn't matter what you agree to. Legally, you are in my custody and I've already given Doctor Cornelius permission to do a blood transfusion."
"I don't give a dam 'bout legal custody, Stryker, but if we're going to do this then lets do it and have it done with."
"If you're ready Mr. Logan, I have everything set up already," said Cornelius, pushing back the curtain separating Logan from Remy, revealing the boy. He looked bad. Blistered red and black burns were wrapped in bandages around his body. His hair was gone and an oxygen mask was over his mouth and nose, with a pump to help him breath. A screen was monitoring his heartbeat and IV lines ran from his arm. Logan winced. He'd seen much worse through the years, but even after all the wars he'd been through, the sight of a kid damaged beyond repair stabbed deep.
"I'm ready," he said.
At first, Cornelius had some trouble getting Logan's blood. His healing factor kept rejecting the needle, before they could gather more than a trickle. Finally, in frustration, Stryker told Cornelius to get a bag open. Seizing Logan's arm, he flipped open his army knife and slashed Logan's wrist.
"Hey!" snarled Logan and started to jerk back.
"Hold still, James, I'm just being practical. Doctor, keep the bag steady."
"A little warning might have been nice, Bub," Logan growled, but held still, letting the blood gush, until the wound healed a moment later.
"That's remarkable!" exclaimed Cornelius, pushing his glasses up with a bloody hand, "Mr. Logan, if I could have a chance to talk with you about your mutation and maybe run some more-"
"No," Logan gave him a dark look. He snatched the knife from Stryker's hand, as the Colonel lifted it again. "Give me that. I'm not some freak for either of you to put under a microscope and poke at."
He cut his own wrist this time, deeper than before and he held the knife there, his teeth clenched in pain. "Tell me when you have enough."
"I'm hoping to replace as much of Lebeau's blood with yours as we can," Cornelius said, "That should give your healing factor, if it will work for him at all, the best chance. But I certainly don't expect you to spill six quarts all at once! That would be suicide."
"Didn't you hear his brother, Doctor?" Stryker said, slapping Logan on the back, "This kid can take a hit."
Logan glared up at Stryker, wondering if the Colonel was actually being serious. It was often hard to tell with the man. Logan could heal, yeah, but he wasn't an endless fountain of blood, especially after all the healing he'd done recently.
As the bag filled, Logan removed the knife and let his cut heal. "I'll give you two quarts now and the rest later," he said.
"He'll give you three now and the rest in an hour," Stryker stated, his hand still on Logan's shoulder.
Logan glared up at him, but then nodded. "That will work."
It was exhausting. He hadn't even gotten out of bed, but Logan felt like he'd run up a mountain and back. Everything ached as his heart strained to circulate oxygen and nutrients with too little blood. His burns were all healed, but Logan didn't complain when Cornelius recommended he stay in the hospital ward another night. Besides wanting to rest, Logan was growing more anxious about Remy Lebeau.
It had taken several hours with doctors and nurses keeping a constant watch, for all the boy's blood to be replaced with Logan's. They all said the process had gone well, but night had fallen and Logan still couldn't see any difference in Remy's condition. To be honest he wasn't sure what he had expected, but it'd been more than a continued beep-beep of the monitor, the pump of the breath stabilizer, and the regular appearance and disappearance of nurses and doctors with their clip boards.
Stryker must have told Victor and the others not to disturb the ward, because Logan didn't see his brother again all day and had to ask one of the nurses to bring him a book, just to keep off hideous boredom.
It was late and Logan was about a fourth of the way through Ender's Game, when he was surprised to be interrupted by Bradley. Bolt was quiet – shy to a fault really. He hadn't said anything all day, even when the nurses had brought them their meals.
"What do you think will happen to the boy, assuming he lives?" The question came out of nowhere and Logan lowered his book, glancing over at Bradley's bed. The man had an arm in a cast and was as pale as ever, but his eyes were bright and alert in the light of the table lamp.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, why do you think Stryker had us capture him?" Bradley looked at him, "Why does he even care if the boy lives?"
"Why wouldn't he? The kid may be a thief, but that's no reason to let 'im die."
"He's also a mutant."
"Stryker doesn't like mutants, Logan."
"What do you mean? He's built a team almost entirely of mutants, Bolt. He's one of the first military leaders I've known who actually recognizes our value."
"I hear things, Logan, phone calls, radio transmission and other such things, even when I'm not meant to, or trying. Believe me, Stryker doesn't like mutants."
Logan frowned, not sure what to think of that.
"Why do you think he formed this team?" Bradley continued, "He said we were serving the country, but how? We haven't done anything to help the war effort in Kuwait, or hunt down terrorist threats. I thought we might be going to help the Apartheid when we went to Africa, but all we did was find a meteor and bring it back. And now we're chasing a common street thief, just because he's a mutant."
"A damned dangerous one," Logan said, though he had nagging feeling that Bradley was on to something. Ever since Stryker had opened the door to their cell and started playing the "you're special" harp, Logan had smelled lies. There just wasn't much he could do about it when the only other option was to wait for the army to find a way to kill him.
Glaring down at the pages of Ender's Game, Logan stuck in a bookmark and tossed it aside. He no longer had the stomach for reading. "Look, if they wanted LeBeau dead, it'd be pretty damned easy for them to get their way," he said, "If he survives, I reckon they're probably going to lock him up is all. Some place where they don't need to worry about 'im blowing everything to hell."
Bradley looked up at the stained ceiling and the light flickered a little. "I overheard Stryker talking with some government executive earlier. We're moving base to an island somewhere up the Atlantic Coast. I think it might also be a kind of … prison." He lifted a hand and all the lights in the room dimmed.
Logan cast the lights and then the equipment over by Remy's bed a nervous look. He didn't like Bolt messing around when there was vital equipment close by. "Listen Bradley, my brother and I didn't exactly have much choice in joining Stryker's little party. You know from the fiasco in Africa that I'd like nothing better than to wash my hands of it all. So if you find out anything that is seriously fucked up, tell me. One way or another, Victor and I will do what we can-"
"Victor?" Bolt interrupted, "You're going to tell your brother what I've said?"
Logan hesitated, the anxious mistrust in Bradley's tone confusing him. "Well yeah. I know he's rough and violent, but he's not all that bad really. I should know."
Bradley was rubbing his forehead. "Just forget it Logan," he said, "The past few days have been hard. I'm just stressed is all. We should both just get some sleep." With that the lights went out completely and there was just the steady beep-beep of Remy's monitor and the dim gleam of moonlight coming through the thin curtains.
Logan frowned, but Bolt had turned over, his back to Logan. "Uhm 'night then," Logan said, but there was no response.
It must have been the early hours of the morning when something woke Logan up. He wasn't sure what, but he woke with the age-old instinct that something was wrong. Immediate alertness, and complete stillness overcame him, as he listened and assessed. There was nothing. Nothing but steady breathing, distant sounds of night crickets and traffic. It was only after a moment that Logan realized it hadn't been a sound that woke him, but the absence of sound. Remy's heart monitor had come to a halt.
Alarmed, Logan turned over and sat up, "Kid?" he started, but, as he focused on the LeBeau's bed, he was quickly relieved to catch all the gentle sounds and smells of a life, as well as a good dose of tense fear.
Remy's red eyes gleamed in the dark, as he also sat up and pulled himself free of the Iv lines. The monitor attachments had already been cast aside. There was the soft clink of steel handcuffs, as Remy moved. His hair was still no more than a brown shadow over his scalp, but Logan couldn't see any other signs of burns or injuries.
"Kid, you alright?"
Remy pulled off bandages, tugged at the cuffs locking him to the bed and looked around.
"Most decidedly not," he drawled, "Remy was s'posed to be in Nashville by now, not locked up with da likes'o you. Where da'hell am I?"
Keeping his voice lowered, Logan started to get up. "Hospital ward, Bub. Don't yah remember? Yeh blew a whole fuck'n gas station." The floor was cold on his bare feet, as Logan stepped forward all his senses bent anxiously on LeBeau. Had it worked? Was the kid really healed?
"Ah yes," Remy said and fumbled to grab up the various tubes and needles stuck to him, jerking them loose. "Now ahs 'member you."
There was a sudden hum and Remy tossed a handful of loose equipment into Logan's face where it exploded with hot painful flashes of red fire. "Yer try'n te take Remy down!"
Snarling, Logan stumbled back, his claws instinctively breaking through his flesh, as he lifted his hands to shield his burned face. There was another humming crack and by the time Logan could see again the handcuffs locking Remy to the bed had been blown to pieces and the Cajun was already halfway through a spinning roundhouse kick that ended with his heel between Logan's eyes. The force of it knocked Logan to the floor between the beds.
"Adieu mon ami!" Remy quipped, before jumping off the bed and sprinting for the doors, dressed in nothing more than a hospital gown.
"Damn it Cajun!" Logan growled, getting up.
The lights turned on, as Bradley jerked awake. "What's going on?" he asked.
"LeBeau," Logan growled, grabbing a robe off a hook, and pulling it on as he ran for the doors "He's trying to escape."
"He got better then?" Bolt said with slight surprise. "I suppose I'll alert the…" he drifted off. Logan was already gone.
Neither Logan nor Remy knew the layout of the building. It wasn't Stryker's usual base, but it was simple enough for Logan to follow Remy's scent. The young Cajun had hardly made it to the end of the second hall, before he caught up.
"Give it up Kid! You're in no condition to fight." Logan yelled, "You were mostly dead only seven hours ago."
Jerking open the nearest door, Remy was faced by broom closest. "I beg to differ," he snapped.
Logan charged and Remy grabbed a mop and swung it like a staff. It smacked Logan on the side of the head, but he rolled with the blow and came back up to his feet, facing Remy from a few feet away.
"We're not-" Logan started, but Remy glared and leapt forward, swinging the mop for all he was worth.
Logan dodged, blocked and then managed to grab the mop on the third attack and yank it from the boy. He snapped it in two like a twig and then tossed the broken pieces aside.
"We're not trying to hurt yeh, Bub," he growled, advancing on the boy, "We saved yer life!"
"Ah don't recall asking yeh to," Remy replied, "Remy was do'n just fine on mah own 'fore you showed up."
There was the sound of booted feet and the glare of flashlight beams, as several armed guards came in from both sides of the hall. Logan could also smell Fred, Victor and Wraith.
Most of the guards had guns and a few were clutching nightsticks.
"Well, well," drawled Victor's voice, "Looks like our boy's gotten all better. Got'a say though, I liked the trench coat look better on you, Boy.
Remy backed into the broom closet, his hands out of sight behind him and his red eyes gleaming dangerously as he faced the dozen men surrounding him. He picked Victor out of the crowd as the large mutant pushed forward dressed in nothing but a pair of jeans. "We all gott'a try out new outfits every now and again," Remy replied, his accent sounding just as singsong and relaxed as ever, but Logan could smell the malice and hear the fast beating of the kid's heart.
"Look out!" he yelled, just as Remy flung his hands forward, throwing handfuls glowing nails at the crowd. They exploded like a dozen firecrackers and the guards shouted and ducked. A few of them lifted their guns to fire.
"No!" jumping forward, Logan tackled the boy, slamming him against the shelf of the closet and shielding him from the guards.
"Get off!" Remy shouted
A few bullets hit Logan in the side and he grunted as he felt ribs break and one of his hips crack.
"Stop!" snarled Victor, snatching the gun from the one of the guards and hitting him with it hard enough to knock out teeth. "Runt you got this?"
Still trying to get past the pain of being shot, Logan didn't move fast enough to dodge the punches Remy threw at him. The Cajun was stronger than he looked and he hit Logan in the stomach then kicked him in the crotch.
"Out of mah way!" He managed to bowl past Logan and grabbed a wrench, which began to hum and glow.
Victor snarled and his claws extended, but Logan attacked before his brother could.
The wooden handle of a hammer smacked hard into the back of Remy's head, knocking the kid unconscious. Logan caught him in his arms, as he collapsed and kicked the glowing wrench into the back of the closet, where it blew a shelf of soaps to bits. Logan didn't flinch. Holding Remy, he carried the boy into the hall. Victor rushed to his side and the guards stood, coming forward with their guns. They all smelled rank with fear and anger.
"I got this," Logan growled, bristling as he sensed the hate, "You can all stay back."
Now that he could see Remy in the light, it was clear he wasn't as completely healed, as it'd first seemed. Though he was clearly well on the way to recovering, his skin was still red and hot to the touch and his breathing hitched slightly as his lungs overcame pain in each intake.
"Stay back. He's just a kid."
There was the sound of more people approaching as Stryker came around up the hall, flanked by Wade and North.
"He's a mutant, James," Stryker said and the tone in his voice reminded Logan sharply of what Bradley had said the night before. "And he's proven himself to be both lethal and unpredictable."
Logan turned to face them and Stryker stopped a few feet away.
"Dude! Wasn't that guy like mostly dead yesterday!?" Wade exclaimed, "I mean I heard they were going to try and fix him, but wow! I mean I've gotten used to you freaks turning from gory horror posters to men's fitness covers overnight, but-"
"Yes, it seems Dr. Cornelius's theory was well founded," Stryker said, then motioned to Zero, "Nord, will you please take the boy into custody. Lieutenant Wong has prepared the appropriate safety precautions for transportation."
Logan frowned and glared at North, still holding LeBeau tightly in his arms. "Where are you going to send him? What's going to happen?"
Stryker frowned. "It's not your concern, James. Well done subduing the boy, but we have all we need to take care of him from now on."
Logan still didn't move and gave North a warning look when he tried to step closer.
Stryker's eye twitched and Logan could smell frustration on him, but rather than snap more orders, the Colonel sighed. "The US Government has commissioned a facility, which will serve to contain dangerous mutants. I cannot tell you the location, but you will find out soon enough, as it will also be one of our new bases of operation. We will be going there directly. Now hand over the boy, James. No one will hurt him."
Logan hesitated a moment, but then eased Remy into Zero's arms. "Yes, Sir," he said.
AN: Please leave a review. Getting feedback really keeps me excited about a story. This is my first AU fanfiction and I'm curious about what people think of the changes I'm making to the movie version.